Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Government stance on GM conflicts with Treaty aim

2 April, 2004

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD has claimed that the Irish Government's support for Genetically Modified products is in conflict with their support for the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources which has been officially ratified by all EU member states, and will come into effect within 90 days. The Treaty seeks to protect genetic diversity and access to the benefits of plant resources.

Deputy Ferris said: "I support the trust of this Treaty, but its entire purpose will be undermined if we are to allow the continued proliferation of Genetically Modified crops throughout the planet. By its support at EU level for lifting the embargo on certain GM products, the Irish Government has aligned itself with those who are attempting to push GM on the world's producers and consumers against strong evidence regarding both its safety and its economic benefits.

"GM crops present the danger of cross-contamination of conventional and organic species and that in itself undermines the preservation and diversity of existing plant resources. There is also the economic issue around patents where the GM corporations clearly wish to exercise control over GM seed varieties. That will tighten their grip on the world food system and exacerbate the problems of access to food currently experienced by those who are starving in the midst of abundance. The only way to ensure real protection of the planet's existing plant resources is to prohibit the growth of GM crops. At local level this can be achieved by the Irish Government declaring this state to be GM free, and to ensure that a similar status is accorded to the north." ENDS

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